When neighbours get together with neighbours, good things happen. This was very much in evidence on February 9, at the Sandy Hill Community Centre. There, 26 high school and university students met with neighbours working in jobs in which the youth are interested. Students held long and rich conversations with neighbours working in such fields as engineering, health care, finance, real estate, law, and the arts. These neighbour-mentors volunteered to share their experience and expertise.
“Connections for Success” was initiated by Action Sandy Hill and members of the Daryeel Youth and Seniors Serving Centre. A group of university students from Strathcona Heights and Lowertown volunteered to plan and run the event, with the help of a few interested adults. Youth Action Now, the organization founded by Paul Dewar during his battle with cancer last year, funded the event. “Connections for Success” not only connected mentors to young people looking for help with career awareness and planning, it also connected youth from Strathcona Heights and Lowertown with neighbours from throughout Sandy Hill.
One of the youth organizers, Nasra Hussein, said, “This event was very worthwhile. Many students felt reassured that the jobs they were interested in were right for them. Others who came without specific jobs in mind, were able to explore different job possibilities and ask questions. This event may have opened their minds about new fields of interest and helped them realize there are professionals around to whom they can ask their questions.”
The mentors involved in the event were impressed by the dedication of the youth organizers and the high level of engagement of the participants. All agreed that fostering such connections for success in Sandy Hill was a beneficial endeavour worth repeating.